Differentiation of aggregated murine P19 embryonal carcinoma cells is induced by a novel visceral endoderm-specific FGF-like factor and inhibited by activin A

Mech Dev. 1991 Feb;33(2):157-65. doi: 10.1016/0925-4773(91)90082-h.


Aggregation of P19 embryonal carcinoma cells in the presence of a factor, secreted by the visceral endoderm-like cell line END-2, induces differentiation to cell types including visceral endoderm, mesoderm-derived muscle tissue and neurons. This factor is different from activin A, type beta transforming growth factors (TGF beta) and fibroblast growth factors (FGF) although its acid- and heat-lability and its stability in the presence of reducing agents resemble the properties of the FGFs. The END-2 factor is completely inhibited in its action by activin A. This inhibitory effect of activin A is not specific for the END-2 factor as retinoic acid (RA)-induced differentiation of aggregated P19 EC cells into neurons (10(-8) M RA) or mesoderm-derived muscle tissue (10(-9) M RA) is also completely inhibited by activin A. The results of this study suggest that the END-2 activity and activin A are intimately involved in the induction and regulation, respectively, of early differentiation processes in vertebrate embryogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Activins
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Embryonal Carcinoma Stem Cells
  • Endoderm / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Inhibins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Viscera / cytology
  • Viscera / embryology
  • Viscera / metabolism


  • Activins
  • Inhibins
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors